Biology Faculty Articles

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Nature Communications





First Page



Feralisation occurs when a domestic population recolonizes the wild, escaping its previous restricted environment, and has been considered as the reverse of domestication. We have previously shown that Kauai Island's feral chickens are a highly variable and admixed population. Here we map selective sweeps in feral Kauai chickens using whole-genome sequencing. The detected sweeps were mostly unique to feralisation and distinct to those selected for during domestication. To ascribe potential phenotypic functions to these genes we utilize a laboratory-controlled equivalent to the Kauai population—an advanced intercross between Red Junglefowl and domestic layer birds that has been used previously for both QTL and expression QTL studies. Certain sweep genes exhibit significant correlations with comb mass, maternal brooding behaviour and fecundity. Our analyses indicate that adaptations to feral and domestic environments involve different genomic regions and feral chickens show some evidence of adaptation at genes associated with sexual selection and reproduction.


©The Author(s) 2016.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit

Additional Comments

NSF Cooperative Agreement #: DBI-0939454; BBSRC grant #: BB/L009382/1; CoMPLEX via EPSRC grant #: EP/F500351/1; Wellcome Trust and the Roayl Society joint grant #: 098386/Z/12/Z

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.





Peer Reviewed

Find in your library

Included in

Biology Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.